Scot Wiper is probably a name you have never heard of but he is the young man who wrote, directed and starred in "A Better Way to Die" and after you watch this movie you will want to watch other movies he is involved in. Now I say that not because "A Better Way to Die" is some great movie or an original masterpiece but because it is entertaining from start to finish thanks to Wiper knowing exactly what this movie is. What it is is an action movie light on story, heavy on action and with enough comedy to make you smile as well as quite an impressive cast of recognizable actors.
Having left home to become a Chicago cop Boomer (Scott Wiper) finds the life to tough for him when during a drugs bust he witnesses his partner and mentor Carlos (Carmen Argenziano) getting his head blown off. Having quit the force he plans to head home to his girlfriend Kelly (Natasha Henstridge - It Had to Be You) but finds it a nightmare trip after he first gets duped by some carjackers, almost killed by three heavies and involved in the war between the mafia and the NSA as he is mistaken for another man.
So as I said "A Better Way to Die" is not some original masterpiece but more the work of a film fan who has combined with skill and efficiency elements from various other movies. As such we do have some cliches, from the rookie cop who can't handle the toughness of the job through to an incident filled journey home where he is mistaken for another man. It certainly isn't "North by Northwest" but draws on these classic story ideas from other movies and combines them to create an entertaining action movie.
But what makes "A Better Way to Die" is more Swiper's eye for comedy because it is the quirky touches which make it such a fun movie. Wiper's character, the comically named Boomer, has a touch of the Lee Evans about him but not in the over the top daft sense but more quirky daftness. We also have the likes of Jack Conley, Lou Diamond Phillips, Joe Pantoliano, Andre Braugher and the attractive Natasha Henstridge and each of these actors bring the right touch of comedy to the mix especially Pantoliano who is brilliant as the comical Flash. Again like the story none of the characters are especially original but the way they work together borders on the comically masterful with what could have ended up simply corny scenes and dialogue making you smile.
But then there is the action and there is lots of it as "A Better Way to Die" fills the screen with shoot outs. But like the rest of the movie the action is often comical with the over the top opening action scene featuring Jack Conley coming across like a shoot-out from a western. It is because of this, the characters and the writing that when "A Better Way to Die" ends you will be impressed and want to watch more movies featuring Scott Wiper.
What this all boils down to is that "A Better Way to Die" is a surprisingly good movie which despite being nothing new makes you smile again and again.